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A Solemn Appeal

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    Children in this age are suffering with their parents, more or less, the penalty of the violation of the laws of health. The course generally pursued with them, from their infancy, is in continual opposition to the laws of their being. They were compelled to receive a miserable inheritance of disease and debility, before their birth, occasioned by the wrong habits of their parents, which will affect them in a greater or less degree through life. This bad state of things is made every way worse by parents’ continuing to follow a wrong course in the physical training of their children during their childhood.SOAP 112.1

    Parents manifest astonishing ignorance, indifference, and recklessness, in regard to the physical health of their children, which often results in destroying the little vitality left the abused infant, and consigns it to an early grave. You will frequently hear parents mourning over the providence of God which has torn their children from their embrace. Our Heavenly Father is too wise to err, and too good to do us wrong. He has no delight in seeing his creatures suffer. Thousands have been ruined for life because parents have not acted in accordance with the laws of health. They have moved from impulse, instead of following the dictates of sound judgment, constantly having in view the future well being of their children.SOAP 112.2

    The first great object to be attained in the training of children is soundness of constitution, which will prepare the way, in a great measure for mental and moral training. Physical and moral health are closely united. What an enormous weight of responsibility is seen to rest upon serenities, when we consider that the course pursued by them, before the birth of their children, has very much to do with the development of their characters after their birth.SOAP 113.1

    Many children are left to come up with less attention from their parents than a good farmer devotes to his dumb animals. Fathers, especially, are often guilty of manifesting less care for wife and children than that shown to their cattle. A merciful farmer will take time, and devote especial thought as to the best manner of managing his stock, and will be particular that his valuable horses shall not be overworked, overfed, or fed when heated, lest they be ruined. He will take time and care for his stock, lest they be injured by neglect, exposure, or any improper treatment, and his increasing young stock depreciate in value. He will observe regular periods for their eating, and will know the amount of work they can perform without injuring them. In order to accomplish this, he will provide them only the most healthful food, in proper quantities, and at stated periods. By thus following the dictates of reason, farmers are successful in preserving the strength of their beasts. If the interest of every father, for his wife and children, corresponded to that care manifested for his cattle, in that degree that their lives are more valuable than the dumb animals, there would be an entire reformation in every family, and human misery be far less.SOAP 113.2

    Great care should be manifested by parents in providing the most healthful articles of food for themselves and for their children. And in no case should they place before their children food which their reason teaches them is not conducive to health, but which would fever the system, and derange the digestive organs. Parents do not study from cause to effect in regard to their children, as in the case of their dumb animals, and do not reason that to overwork, to eat after violent exercise, and when much exhausted, and heated, will injure the health of human beings, as well as the health of dumb animals, and will lay the foundation for a broken constitution in man, as well as in beasts.SOAP 114.1

    The father in many cases exercises more reason respecting, and manifests more care for, his cattle when with young, than he manifests for his wife, when in a similar condition. The mother, in many cases previous to the birth of her children, is permitted to toil early and late, heating her blood, while preparing various unhealthful dishes of food to suit the perverted taste of the family, and of visitors. Her strength should be tenderly cherished. A preparation of healthful food would require but about one-half of the expense and labor, and would be far more nourishing.SOAP 115.1

    The mother, before the birth of her children, is often permitted to labor beyond her strength. Her burdens and cares are seldom lessened, and that period, which should be to her of all others, a time of rest, is one of fatigue, sadness, and gloom. By too great exertion on her part, she deprives her offspring of that nutrition which nature has provided for it, and by heating her blood, she imparts to it a bad quality of nourishment. The offspring is robbed of its vitality, robbed of physical and mental strength. The father should study how to make the mother happy. He should not allow himself to come to his home with a clouded brow. If he is perplexed in business, he should not,unless it is actually necessary to counsel with his wife, trouble her with such matters. She has cares and trials of her own to bear, and she should be tenderly spared every needless burden.SOAP 115.2

    The mother too often meets with cold reserve from the father. If everything does not move off just as pleasantly as he could wish, he blames the wife and mother, and seems indifferent to her cares and daily trials. Men who do this are working directly against their own interest and happiness. The mother becomes discouraged. Hope and cheerfulness depart from her. She goes about her work mechanically, knowing that it must be done, which soon debilitates physical and mental health. Children are born to them, suffering from various diseases, and God holds the parents accountable in a great degree; for it was their wrong habits which fastened disease upon their unborn children, under which they are compelled to suffer all through their lives. Some live but a short period with their load of debility. The mother anxiously watches over the life of her child, and is weighed down with sorrow as she is compelled to close its eyes in death, and she often regards God as the author of all this affliction, when the parents in reality were the murderers of their own child.SOAP 116.1

    The father should bear in mind that the treatment of his wife before the birth of his offspring will materially affect the disposition of the mother during that period, and will have very much to do with the character developed by the child after its birth. Many fathers have been so anxious to obtain property fast, that higher considerations have been sacrificed, and some men have been criminally neglectful of the mother and her offspring, and too frequently the lives of both have been sacrificed to the strong desire to accumulate wealth. Many do not immediately suffer this heavy penalty for their wrong-doing, and are asleep to the result of their course. The condition of the wife is sometimes no better than that of a slave, and sometimes she is equally guilty with the husband, of squandering physical strength, to obtain means to live fashionably. It is a crime for such to have children, for their offspring will often be deficient in physical, mental, and moral worth, and will bear the miserable, close, selfish impress of their parents; and the world will be cursed with their meanness.SOAP 117.1

    It is the duty of men and women to act with reason in regard to their labor. They should not exhaust their energies unnecessarily, for by doing this, they not only bring suffering upon themselves,but, by their errors, bring anxiety, weariness, and suffering, upon those they love. What calls for such an amount of labor? Intemperance in eating and in drinking, and the desire for wealth, have led to this intemperance in labor. If the appetite is controlled, and that food only which is healthful be taken, there will be so great a saving of expense, that men and women will not be compelled to labor beyond their strength, and thus violate the laws of health. The desire of men and women to accumulate property is not sinful, if, in their efforts to attain their object, they do not forget God, and transgress the last six precepts of Jehovah, which dictate the duty of man to his fellow-man, and place themselves in a position where it is impossible for them to glorify God in their bodies and spirits which are his. If, in their haste to be rich, they overtax their energies and violate the laws of their being, they place themselves in a condition where they cannot render to God perfect service, and are pursuing a course of sin. Property thus obtained is at an immense sacrifice.SOAP 117.2

    Hard labor and anxious care often make the father nervous, impatient, and exacting. He does not notice the tired look of his wife, who has labored, with her feebler strength, just as hard as he has labored, with his stronger energies. He suffers himself to be hurried with business, and, through his anxiety to be rich, loses in a great measure the sense of his obligation to his family, and does not measure aright his wife’s power of endurance. He often enlarges his farm, requiring an increase of hired help, which necessarily increases the housework. The wife realizes every day that she is doing too much work for her strength, yet she toils on, thinking the work must be done. She is continually reaching down into the future, drawing upon her future resources of strength, and is living upon borrowed capital, and at the period when she needs that strength, it is not at her command; and if she does not lose her life, her constitution is broken, past recovery.SOAP 118.1

    If the father would become acquainted with physical law, he might better understand his obligations and his responsibilities. He would see that he had been guilty of almost murdering his children, by suffering so many burdens to come upon the mother, compelling her to labor beyond her strength before their birth, in order to obtain means to leave for them. They nurse these children through their suffering life, and often lay them prematurely in the grave, little realizing that their wrong course has brought the sure result. How much better to have shielded the mother of his children from wearing labor and mental anxiety, and let the children inherit good constitutions, and give them an opportunity to battle their way through life, not relying upon their father’s property, but upon their own energetic strength. The experience thus obtained would be of more worth to them than houses and lands, purchased at the expense of the health of mother and children.SOAP 119.1

    It seems perfectly natural for some men to be morose, selfish, exacting, and overbearing. They have never learned the lesson of self-control, and will not restrain their unreasonable feelings, let the consequences be what they may. Such men will be repaid, by seeing their companions sickly and dispirited, and their children bearing the peculiarities of their own disagreeable traits of character.SOAP 120.1

    It is the duty of every married couple to studiously avoid marring the feelings of each other. They should control every look and expression of fretfulness and passion. They should study each other’s happiness, in small matters, as well as in large, manifesting a tender thoughtfulness, in acknowledging kind acts and the little courtesies of each other. These small things should not be neglected, for they are just as important to the happiness of man and wife, as food is necessary to sustain physical strength. The father should encourage the wife and mother to lean upon his large affections. Kind, cheerful, encouraging words from him with whom she has intrusted her life happiness, will be more beneficial to her than any medicine; and the cheerful rays of light which such sympathizing words will bring to the heart of the wife and mother, will reflect back their own cheering beams upon the heart of the father.SOAP 120.2

    The husband will frequently see his wife care-worn and debilitated, growing prematurely old, in laboring to prepare food to suit the vitiated taste. He gratifies the appetite, and will eat and drink those things which it costs much time and labor to prepare for the table, and which have a tendency to make those who partake of them nervous and irritable. The wife and mother is seldom free from the headache, and the children are suffering the effects of eating unwholesome food, and there is a great lack of patience and affection with parents and children. All are sufferers together, for health has been sacrificed to lustful appetite. The offspring, before its birth, has had transmitted to it disease and an unhealthy appetite. And the irritability, nervousness, and despondency, manifested by the mother, will mark the character of her child.SOAP 121.1

    In past generations, if mothers had informed themselves in regard to the laws of their being, they would have understood that their constitutional strength, as well as the tone of their morals, and their mental faculties, would in a great measure be represented in their offspring. Their ignorance upon this subject, where so much is involved, is criminal. Many women never should have become mothers. Their blood was filled with scrofula, transmitted to them from their parents, and increased by their gross manner of living. The intellect has been brought down and enslaved to serve the animal appetite, and children, born of such parents, have been poor sufferers, and of but little use to society.SOAP 121.2

    It has been one of the greatest causes of degeneracy in generations back, up to the present time, that wives and mothers who otherwise would have had a beneficial influence upon society, in raising the standard of morals, have been lost to society through multiplicity of home cares, because of the fashionable, health-destroying manner of cooking, and also in consequence of too frequent child-bearing. She has been compelled to needless suffering, her constitution has failed, and her intellect has become weakened, by so great a draught upon her vital resources.Her offspring suffer her debility, and thus a class is thrown upon society, poorly fitted, through the mother’s inability to educate them, to be of the least benefit.SOAP 122.1

    If these mothers had given birth to but few children, and if they had been careful to live upon such food as would preserve physical health and mental strength, so that the moral and intellectual might predominate over the animal, they could have so educated their children for usefulness, as to have made them bright ornaments to society.SOAP 123.1

    If parents in past generations had, with firmness of purpose, kept the body servant to the mind, and had not allowed the intellectual to be enslaved by animal passions, there would be in this age a different order of beings upon the earth. And if the mother, before the birth of her offspring, had always possessed self-control, realizing that she was giving the stamp of character to future generations, the present state of society would not be so depreciated in character as at the present time.SOAP 123.2

    Every woman about to become a mother, whatever may be her surroundings, should encourage constantly a happy, cheerful, contented disposition, knowing that for all her efforts in this direction she will be repaid tenfold in the physical, as well as the moral, character of her offspring. Nor is this all. She can, by habit, accustom herself to cheerful thinking, and thus encourage a happy state of mind, and cast a cheerful reflection of her own happiness of spirit upon her family, and those with whom she associates. And in a very great degree will her physical health be improved. A force will be imparted to the life springs, the blood will not move sluggishly, as would be the case if she were to yield to despondency and gloom. Her mental and moral health are invigorated by the buoyancy of her spirits. The power of the will can resist impressions of the mind, and will prove a grand soother of the nerves. Children who are robbed of that vitality which they should have inherited of their parents, should have the utmost care. By close attention to the laws of their being, a much better condition of things can be established.SOAP 123.3

    The period during which the infant receives its nourishment from the mother, is a critical one. Many mothers, while nursing their infants, have been permitted to over labor, and to heat their blood in cooking, and the nursing has been seriously affected, not only with fevered nourishment from the mother’s breast, but its blood has been poisoned by the unhealthy diet of the mother, which has fevered her whole system, thereby affecting the food of the infant. The infant will also be affected by the condition of the mother’s mind. If she is unhappy, easily agitated, irritable, giving vent to outbursts of passion, the nourishment the infant receives from its mother will be inflamed, often producing colic, spasms, and, in some instances, causing convulsions and fits.SOAP 124.1

    The character also of the child is more or less affected by the nature of the nourishment received from the mother. How important, then, that the mother, while nursing her infant, should preserve a happy state of mind, having the perfect control of her own spirit. By thus doing, the food of the child is not injured, and the calm, self-possessed course the mother pursues in the treatment of her child has very much to do in molding the mind of the infant. If it is nervous, and easily agitated, the mother’s careful, unhurried manner will have a soothing and correcting influence, and the health of the infant can be very much improved.SOAP 125.1

    Infants have been greatly abused by improper treatment. If fretful, they have generally been fed to keep them quiet, when in most cases, the very reason of their fretfulness was because of their having received too much food, made injurious by the wrong habits of the mother. More food only made the matter worse, for their stomachs were already overloaded.SOAP 125.2

    Children are generally brought up from the cradle to indulge the appetite, and are taught that they live to eat. The mother does much toward the formation of the character of her children in their childhood. She can teach them to control the appetite, or she can teach them to indulge the appetite, and become gluttons. The mother often arranges her plans to accomplish a certain amount through the day, and when the children trouble her, instead of taking time to soothe their little sorrows, and divert them, something is given them to eat, to keep them still, which answers the purpose for a short time, but eventually makes things worse. The children’s stomachs have been pressed with food, when they had not the least want of it. All that was required was a little of the mother’s time and attention. But she regarded her time as altogether too precious to devote to the amusement of her children. Perhaps the arrangement of her house in a tasteful manner for visitors to praise, and to have her food cooked in a fashionable style, are with her higher considerations than the happiness and health of her children.SOAP 125.3

    Intemperance in eating and in labor debilitates the parents, often making them nervous, and disqualifying them to rightly discharge their duty to their children. Three times a day, parents and children gather around the table loaded with a variety of fashionable foods. The merits of each dish have to be tested. Perhaps the mother had toiled till she was heated and exhausted, and was not in a condition to take even the simplest food till she had first had a period of rest. The food she wearied herself in preparing was wholly unfit for her at any time, but especially taxes the digestive organs when the blood is heated and the system exhausted. Those who have thus persisted in violating the laws of their being, have been compelled to pay the penalty at some period in their life.SOAP 126.1

    There are ample reasons why there are so many nervous women in the world, complaining of the dyspepsia, with its train of evils. The cause has been followed by the effect. It is impossible for intemperate persons to be patient. They must first reform bad habits, learn to live healthfully, and then it will not be difficult for them to be patient. Many do not seem to understand the relation the mind sustains to the body. If the system is deranged by improper food, the brain and nerves are affected, and slight things annoy those who are thus afflicted. Little difficulties are to them troubles mountain high. Persons thus situated are unfitted to properly train their children. Their life will be marked with extremes. Sometimes they are very indulgent, at other times severe, censuring for trifles which deserve no notice.SOAP 127.1

    The mother frequently sends her children from her presence, because she thinks she cannot endure the noise occasioned by their happy frolics. But with no mother’s eye over them to approbate or disapprove at the right time, unhappy differences often arise. A word from the mother would set all right again. They soon become weary, desire change, and go into the street for amusement; and pure, innocent-minded children are driven into bad company, and evil communications breathed into their ears corrupt their good manners. The mother often seems to be asleep to the interests of her children until she is painfully aroused by the exhibition of vice. The seeds of evil were sown in their young minds, promising an abundant harvest. And it is a marvel to her that her children are so prone to do wrong. Parents should begin in season to instill into infant minds good and correct principles. The mother should be with her children as much as possible, and should sow precious seed in their hearts.SOAP 127.2

    The mother’s time belongs in a special manner to her children. They have a right to her time which no others can have. In many cases mothers have neglected to discipline their children, because it would require too much of their time, which time they think must be spent in the cooking department, or in preparing their own clothing, and that of their children, according to fashion, to foster pride in their young hearts. In order to keep their restless children still, they have given them cake or candies, at almost any hour of the day, and their stomachs are crowded with hurtful things at irregular periods. Their pale faces testify to the fact that mothers are doing what they can to destroy the remaining life-forces of their poor children. The digestive organs are constantly taxed, and are not allowed periods of rest. The liver becomes inactive, and the blood impure; and the children are sickly and irritable, because they are real sufferers from intemperance, and it is impossible for them to exercise patience.SOAP 128.1

    Parents wonder that children are so much more difficult to control than they used to be. In most cases their own criminal management has made them so. The quality of food they bring upon their tables, and encourage their children to eat, is constantly exciting their animal passions, and weakening the moral and intellectual faculties. Very many children are made miserable dyspeptics in their youth by the wrong course their parents have pursued toward them in childhood. Parents will be called to render an account to God for thus dealing with their children.SOAP 129.1

    Many parents do not give their children lessons in self-control. They indulge their appetite, and suffer them to form, in their childhood, habits of eating and drinking according to their own desires. So will they be in their general habits in their youth. Their desires have not been restrained, and as they grow older, they will not only indulge in the common habits of intemperance, but they will go still further in indulgences. They will choose their own associates, although corrupt. They cannot endure restraint from their parents. They will give loose rein to their corrupt passions, and have but little regard for purity or virtue. This is the reason why there is so little purity and moral worth among the youth of the present day, and is the great cause why men and women feel under so little obligation to render obedience to the law of God. Some parents have not control over themselves. They do not control their own morbid appetites, or their passionate tempers; therefore they cannot educate their children in regard to the denial of their appetite, and teach them self-control.SOAP 129.2

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